Mar 23, 2011


One of the most important things I learned from working in a bike shop is always aim for the head and pull the trigger twice. That’s right, this month we’re going back to the Pit to talk some shop. Sure, that opening line might just be a hook to pull you in, but there’s no denying that working in a bike shop is far more emotionally draining than you might think.

Mountain bike forums are full of threads about shops that have crappy service and surly employees. Yet you’ll always find that the shops that have the most complaints also have the most people backing them up. Clearly there’s something else at work here. Could it be that the people who work in bike shops are just that: people?

Which one's the Monkey and which ones the Rat?  Irrelevant, they're both too<br /> mutated to tell anymore...
Which one's the Monkey and which ones the Rat? Irrelevant, they're both too
mutated to tell anymore...

No, they’re not. They’re monkeys and rats. But like people, they have their good days and bad days. The good days far outweigh the bad ones, but like I said, you can’t deny that there’s some dark juju at work when you choose employment that is part of other people’s leisure. You must sacrifice certain normal human outlets of stress so that you can appear cheerful and helpful, even when you are feeling anything but.

It may seem like a dream job to a lot of you reading this. Truly, it’s a great way to waste several years of your life. You get to see all the new gear, you get insane deals on bikes and parts, and you are totally immersed in the culture. All this is true. On the other hand…

You get to be completely coated in grime, guck, muck, dirt, oil, grease, dog crap, and other bodily fluids. The pay ain’t all that great. Most of the latest and greatest parts that the industry comes out with don’t work like they’re supposed to (and they NEVER fit right). Chances are good that you’re a guy, and you’re severely limiting your contact with members of the opposite sex through your choice of employment (for you few ladies out there who are working in shops, THANKYOUTHANKYOUTHANKYOU!). Oh, and the targets- I mean ‘customers’- can really wear a guy down.

The dark side of working in a bike shop....naked English dudes.
The dark side of working in a bike shop....naked English dudes.

Most people that come into a shop are totally reasonable. Hey, we’re all into bikes, so we’ve automatically got a lot in common. Seriously, you guys are all great. But what happens is that there’s a serious difference of viewpoint from a shop rat and the customer. Let’s face it, for most of you the bike is an escape, and a lot of times when you can’t actually get out and ride you’re dropping by the shop as a way of getting away from the pressures of your real life. For the monkey that works on your bike, this IS the real life. Yeah, I know, it’s a pretty enjoyable life in a lot of ways, but everyone no matter how hard they try are going to get a bit fed up with it sooner or later. So there’s often a disconnect that results in some friction.

Take this typical scenario:

Customer: “Can you get me that new Shiskamabob Crank Enhancer for the weekend?”

Monkey: “Ummm, yeah, but you know that we don’t know if it actually works yet, and it’s sort of expensive, and we gotta order it in. Can you pre-pay for it?”

Customer: “What, pre-pay? But I can get it online for peanuts in 12 seconds. Maybe if you just installed one that I bought, and I’ll pay you with these bits of string in my pocket?”

Monkey (who by the way is easily impressed by bits of pocket string, and doesn’t want to lose the sale): “Well, how ‘bout if I give you a bit of a deal and install it for you for Saturday?”

Of course, then what happens is the higher echelon monkey at the supplier (who only speaks a bastard form of Inuit/Cajun spoken only in a few random basements on the Chic-Choc peninsula) totally blows the order, ending up in having to last minute ship the display model for an early Saturday delivery that shows up late AND missing parts. But of course, the dedicated and competent shop rat will come through with some custom machining and make that little bugger fit the way it was supposed to, and probably only a few minutes late. Typically what happens next is one of two scenarios. The customer has at this point either moved on to the next big fad (oh, I don’t really want the Crank Extender now. Do you have any matching white seat post covers?), or they take the installed part out for a short ride, where as is typical with any new part in the bike world it promptly implodes and causes massive damage to the rest of the customers ride, and probably their freshly shaven upper thigh as well. This of course, would be the fault of the shop.

“Yeah, that looks like a warranty issue to me. Do you mind waiting for 6 months for a replacement? That was the last one in stock…”

That’s a pretty reasonable response to a totally unreasonable situation. But don’t think that this is the last comment on the situation at the shop. Far from it. You gotta know that if you cause a situation in the store, that you will be discussed, dismembered, disembowelled, etc., ad infinitum during the traditional bs session at the end of the day. Any good shop does this, it’s the way that they cope.

Shoulda cleaned that dog shit off the tire....
Shoulda cleaned that dog shit off the tire....

I worked in bike shops for about 10 years or so, and with a serious cast of characters. We had a million laughs in the back of the old Cove (the original building in the Deepest and Darkest of Deep Cove). I really wish I’d been able to hide a video camera in the back of the shop to catch some of the dumb crap that used to go on at the end of the day, but this was way back in the 20th Century, and video cameras were about the same size as a Prius, so even in a shop as disorganized as that one, it was hard to conceal one.

The main thing was that we had a kitchen in the back of the building, and at the end of the day we’d have some beers and laughs over some food that NumNutz would cook up for us. I think most of what we laughed at was probably not all that funny, but it was a stress relief. It was pretty crazy some days. On a busy Saturday, we might move 30 or 40 bikes out that door, and with a staff of around 6 or 7 people that’s a damn busy day.

At the end of the shift, we’d all sit down in that back kitchen and let it all out. Nothing personal, mind you…no wait. We’d get totally personal and rip on anyone and anything. The thing is, if you didn’t let it out there in the back, you’d end up letting ‘er fly on the sales floor, which isn’t a terribly nice thing to do. It did happen occasionally, and I’m not going to deny that I saw some pretty damn funny things when someone lost their cool, but it’s just not the way to maintain a business. We’d generally just save it up for the end of the day and blow off that accumulated steam in private.

Where the kitchen used to be at the Cove.
Where the kitchen used to be at the Cove.

Of course, all good things must come to an end, and the pressures of a rapidly expanding business meant that the kitchen had to go. Actually, it got buried in bike boxes so it just wasn’t that useful. Our ways of blowing off steam were suddenly limited. One result can be seen in one of Jörli Ricker’s old videos (not sure if it was Shift or Ride to the Hills, but they’re both worth seeing…). In Wade’s seggie, you’ll see him hard at work in the back of the old shop, smashing the bejesus out of an old Pipeline frame. That’s not an act folks. That’s the darkness of the Pit coming through. Better that he took it out on a beater frame like that than on your ride though, don’t ya think?

Other folks, like the aforementioned NumNutz, adopted eccentric styles of dress or mannerisms of speech. So to this day if someone wearing overalls and rubber boots tells me that, “Horsey is my mommy” I don’t even flinch. I still don’t have an answer to that, but at least I don’t flinch.

There are some more traditional and obvious ways to blow off steam. After all, the monkeys and rats are surrounded by thousands or millions of dollars’ worth of new bikes and parts. Just go for a ride. It’s not always possible due to light or fatigue, but when it is, look out. It’s always worth it to hook up for a ride with a shop employee, just be warned that sandbagging tourists never goes out of style.

I remember this one guy, we’ll call him Ed (oops, that’s actually his real name. Oh well…). Ed was the newly crowned Expert XC Champ of New Brunswick, which is to say, “Who gives a shit.” However, he was jonesing to go for a ride on the legendary North Shore, and I was looking for some reason to blow off work a half hour early, so away we went. Now, picture this if you will. You, as Ed, are full of P and V after your recent win and are covered head to toe in the latest colourful lycra plumage of your sponsors. You’ve got a new, rad race-tuned XC bike. Standing in front of you is some long-haired dirtbag, greasy and dirty, riding some haggard and beat down Shore tested rig, and rocking a t-shirt with the sleeves torn off and cut-off jeans because the riding shorts are at home and it’s too far to go grab them if we’re going riding. You’re gonna feel like you’ve got a big advantage right out of the gate.

It gets even better for you as the ride starts. When you start up Mt. Seymour from Deep Cove, it goes straight up for a bit. It’s a paved bike path, but stupid steep. As we tend to go up to around 2400’ on a normal ride, I like to warm up slow. Granny gear slow. I’ve never been a real dynamic climber anyway. Instead of the high octane, my motor is more of a diesel. Takes a while to get ‘er going, but once I’m warm I can keep the revs up for a long time.

So we get to the bottom of the Old Buck climb (and I mean the old version that was all mucky and rocky, not that blue gravel sanitized travesty that’s there now), and Ed turns to me and asks, “Do you mind if I do some intervals? I gotta get some training in.”

Sure buddy. It’s your funeral.

Of course my dog bites.  Especially brightly coloured lycra clad Eurotrash...
Of course my dog bites. Especially brightly coloured lycra clad Eurotrash...

So as I get up the first part of the Old Buck, you know, to the part where it actually gets steep, I’m feeling like I’m finally warmed up and ready to jam. Ed is stacked trailside, literally frothing at the mouth. Mucous is smeared down his chin and dripping onto his chest. We’re all of about 20 minutes in to the ride, and Holmes has hit the wall. I gotta give him credit, he hung on for the rest of the ride, but we were out there for a full four hours of thrashing obscure tech-gnar old school North Shore singletrack.

Felt pretty good, and I was sooooo nice to problematic customers for the rest of the week.

Unfortunately, it can be really hard to find four hours and some patsy dumb to carry the sandbags for that long. Hang on….don’t let that scare you off. You really should try to hook up for a ride with your local mechanic, just don’t ever underestimate them.

This is what happens when your mechanic is only operating at 95% efficiency.  It's gotta be perfect every time.
This is what happens when your mechanic is only operating at 95% efficiency. It's gotta be perfect every time.

But back to my point, it’s not like there’s always enough time in a day to get out ride, especially at the busiest time of the year.

Luckily there’s video games. You can do things in the virtual world that you could never dream of in the real world. It’s maybe not quite as satisfying, but it’s more than enough to take the edge off. Rebuild your forks in half an hour? No problem. Just let me machine gun this police car first and I’ll have that for you in a jiffy. For every exasperating moment I had in the service department, I could take it out on the legions of mindless sprites on my console. And strangely, the worse it gets in the shop, the better you get at gaming. You get motivation, determination, and the cold face of the true killer…oh I’m just taking the piss. But I did learn that it’s best to aim for the head, and you may as well pull the trigger twice because at worst you might miss twice and besides, there’s going to be an ammo powerup just around the corner.

So the next time you feel the warmth of a laser heating up that space on your forehead between your eyebrows, here’s some solid advice to heed…

How to Get Really Good Deals and Service at a Bike Shop
How to Get Really Good Deals and Service at a Bike Shop


First of all, bribes work. Most shop employees are not well paid, and are very open to graft. The key here is to max out your investment. Just paying them cash isn’t going to net you much of a return, and besides it often comes across as crass. Instead, try beer. A six-pack of good beer (Bud’s just for smoking) is only around $12. One of those every once in a while will not only save you hundreds of dollars, but it will also get you priority service, more attention to your detail, and exclude you from the post-mayhem ridicule session. Actually, it will often get you invited IN to the experience. Depending on where you live (ie – BC), you may find that other substances besides beer will open that door, but I leave that to your discretion. I’m not judging anyone; I’m just saying local variances exist in the preferred currency for bribes.

Secondly, pick a shop and stick with them. Shopping around is smart, for sure, but you will find that a good shop will always reward loyalty. It may seem tricky at first to find a good shop, but I’ll let you in on a little secret; all shops are pretty damn good. Hang out around a few until you find the one that suits you, and then stick with them. Jumping back and forth between competitors will get you some deals in the short term, but over time you’ll just get a reputation among the shop rat underground as a high maintenance customer and the service will fall off.

Third, talk to the mechanics. Sales guys are great. They’re very personable and friendly and easy to get along with. Good mechanics are surly and miserable. Why? Because they don’t have to be nice if they’re any good at their job. I bet some of you readers are still in high school, where a pass is 50% and an A is anything over about 80%. Imagine if your mechanic only tightened up 80% of the bolts on your bike. In the world of the bike mechanic, a pass is 99.5%, and a good mechanic performs at so close to 100% as to make no difference at all. So it will really pay off to be nice to your wrench. Find out what beer they like, and make sure they get some occasionally. Coffee is also something that most denizens of the Pit enjoy.

Oh, and always…ALWAYS clean your bike before you bring it in.


And now the bonus Bonus:

NumNutz Bike Shop Red Sauce Pasta

Horsey IS his Mommy...
Horsey IS his Mommy...


*Not exactly like he used to make, but pretty damn close. This is one of those recipes that seems to change over time.

Ingredients

1 onion
0.5-1 bulb (not clove, BULB) of garlic to taste
1 can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1 small head of broccoli
1 small zucchini
1 sweet bell pepper
1 can of red kidney beans (or mixed beans works well too)
2 cans of tomatoes
A bunch of sweet basil flakes

Oh and love. Just don’t add too much or it will get salty.

Directions

I use a cast iron fry pan and a wok for this. Chop up your onion and garlic finely. Set aside. Open you chipotle peppers and take one or two of them and chop them up. Put them with the onion and garlic. I use lots of garlic and peppers myself, but not everyone is into that much flava. I leave it in your hands.

Now chop up your broccoli, zucchini, and pepper. Keep them separate from the garlic/onion. I cook them separately to start.

Fire up the stove on high. Heat some oil in the frying pan AND in the wok. Drop the veggies into the wok and cover. Stir occasionally so they don’t burn too much. A little is fine, but what you want is for them to steam up under the lid. At the same time, toss the onion, garlic, and pepper into the frying pan and get them nice and brown. You may find yourself coughing like you’ve been pepper sprayed, that’s normal. Turn the fan on, ya dummy. When they’re nice and brown, toss the kidney beans into the onion and garlic and stir it up until well mixed. Drop them into the wok with everything else. You’re done with the frying pan at this point.

For the tomatoes, if you have whole ones, stab a knife into the open can and massacre the contents. Drain the excess water off (you don’t have to be too diligent here, it just helps speed the cooking time). Add to the wok.

Add a good amount of basil. Like at least a quarter cup. I kind of just dump it in there. Stir the crap out of it. Leave it on high until the whole thing starts to bubble up pretty good, then turn it down to medium-low. You want to have a lid on there, but leave the spoon in so that it can reduce. It’s gotta cook for at least an hour, so adjust the heat accordingly. It needs to be simmering, maybe a bit higher if it’s watery.

Every once in a while, take a wooden spoon or spatula and not only give it a good stir but mash up the veggies. This will really ‘sauce’ it up.

When it’s just about done, you can add some mushrooms. I like them added later so that they don’t get all smooshed up in there.

You can also add any other veggies you think might be nice in there.

Serve over spaghettini noodles (you can put more spaghettini away than normal spaghetti. I don’t know why, but you can and trust me…you’re going to want to) and liberally douse with parmesan.

As this is a veggie sauce, it keeps very well, even if you don’t refrigerate it. Like all great sauces, it gets even better after is sits for a day. I quite often make a huge batch and freeze it.

-Smoke







190 Comments

  • + 65
 You should try working in a low end bike shop like Halfords, just try explaining to someone that their £89.99 bike costs less than a piece of plastic that goes next to your chain ring and that it will probably break pretty quickly. "£500 for a bike! That's ridiculous!" Smile
  • + 30
 Yeh i lasted 3 months in my halfords cause of exactly that! "What you took your £89 bike up a mountain? Of course it broke!"
  • + 9
 i can picture that as being a rather tough job
  • + 3
 Amen CakeOnToast. The reactions are funny though xD
  • + 6
 Haha, i just started a job at halfords and my pedals cost the same as half the bikes there.
But i do get many people coming in asking/telling you that they have a puncture and they had just bought the bike last week and you have to fix it for them.
  • + 24
 This reminds me of that classic "Letter from a bike shop."
http://www.craigslist.org/about/best/sea/1192150038.html
  • + 4
 This article is AWESOME. Enough said. Thank you for the write-up! Cheers. BB
  • + 14
 ive worked at a shop for three years as mechanic and salesman and this is exactly right. beer as a bribe actually works better than money to make your bike a priority. and we brutally make fun of every idiot customer with a broken walmart bike as soon as they leave. as for entertainment and stress relief, bunny hop contests out back and races around the sales floor on 16" kids bikes also do the trick
  • + 1
 +1 Awesome write up!
[Reply]
  • + 31
 You work in the service industry. Get over it, everyone meets a*sholes/idiots in their job from time to time. Why not just put up a sign outside your shop saying 'Only cool and knowledgeable customers allowed', I'll set up shop next to you dealing with everyone else and we'll see who lasts longest.

I'd only use my LBS if I didn't have a tool I needed. Sorry guys, but the sport is expensive enough as it is without having to bribe mechanics with weed and beer. No-one owes you anything.
  • + 14
 Agreed as well. Nowhere else hates their customers as much as bike shops, yet feels their customers should not only pay more for products and services than online but also, and here is the kicker, bring in the odd six-pack to sweeten the deal! Learn how to wrench your own bike. It is fun and will get you going again without delay. Leave the really difficult stuff to the pros, like rebuilding your rear shock, which shops won't do anyways. Buy parts as cheap as you can and use the leftover money to go on road trips or gas up your shuttle vehicle.
  • + 2
 dude seriously, being friendly with a mechanic or staff on a good bike shop and hanging around...not necesarely buying beer but just helping once in a while and chating with staff about whatever will get you few different things including : being friend with really nice people, getting free mechanics when your own tool box is of no longer use (yes is the mech know that you already do 90% of the job, he won't f**k around) + have a 10% 15% or 20% of parts. so yeah sport is expensive and being nice will help you lower that cost + will make their job way more fun :p
  • + 1
 my local shops nothin like that...they are a business i dont need to bribe anyone,i go in tell them whats wrong,ask how much itll be,have a chat with them,being i know all the staff. and im on my way, and visting other shops i always get the same treatment....some people are a little to biased,sure im giving your comp money i could give to you ,but then again it would be the same thing if i were repping a diff shop.
  • + 2
 Mad respects for that post. Spot on.
  • + 6
 i know both sides of the story
on one side mechanics should be nicer to their costumers but also (as a mechanic) costumers could show some courtesy to you for doing a job that they are unable to do.
basically we both need to be a bit nicer

but beer as bribes is just sad
if you need beer to do a good job then you should be fired
  • + 3
 Ha - what a perfect answer to dirtydroog Mr Dirt-Gash. Fantastic!
  • + 11
 @Dirt-Gash: What's your point? It's not my fault they get paid crap, it's not exactly a high skilled job. Like I said, their main advantage is the tools they have at their disposal, and they're already making a profit on the transaction too. If someone doesn't like their remuneration it's up to them to do something about it... set up their own shop or change careers. It'd be a great world if everyone could make a living from their hobby, sadly it's a pipe-dream for 99% of the working population.

I tip depending on level of service I get, I don't tip in the hope of getting good service next time round. I'm not going to bribe someone to give me service or to be my friend. (Tipping bartenders is a North American thing too, by the way. I don't tip any in London even if they give me my change on a silver plate)
  • + 4
 Really? Not a highly skilled job? Tell that to the mechanics on the world cup circuit. Most good mechanics will know a ridiculous amount of obscure but important facts about the stupid number of old standards that are still out there, as well as the new standards that come out every year. Do you know which side of the pinch bolt you route the cable on a Shimano R440 front derailleur? Or the difference between a 2.25 tire and a 2 1/4 tire? There are literally thousands of details that either aren't in any manual anywhere or are in a manual printed in the early 90's. A good mechanic is not an idiot who hits the bike with a hammer until he thinks it's fixed. We don't expect a beer as a tip from anyone, but it's always nice when someone appreciates the hard work you put into their bike, and sure the next time that customer comes in, we will go out of our way to make sure they get better service and/or give them a break on service or parts.

Secondly, some of you need a sense of humor, and learn to take things with a grain of salt.
  • + 2
 @vansk8r: I don't know those things. The mechanics who do are obviously good mechanics because they've been around so long. The reason they've been around so long is probably that they didn't whine about having to deal with people.

I do have a sense of humour, parts of the article were amusing in a juvenile sort of way. Most of it wasn't really and merely reflects the thinking behind some of the attitude I've received in bike shops when I put some business their way.
[Reply]
  • + 23
 Personally I've never used a bike mechanic in my life - seriously guys it's not that hard. These are push-bikes we're talking about. Buy a tool kit and get stuck in. Jeeesus.... Man the F*ck up.....
  • + 11
 You have absolutely no f**c*in idea
  • - 1
 Why do you say that ?
  • + 13
 Yeah its pretty easy once you learn it all. Ive been servicing My bikes for around a year now. A bit expensive to keep buying oils/tools and rags e.t.c but its worth it. You will enjoy your bike more if YOU work on it.
  • + 17
 Tools are expensive. only if you go with park tool and big names.. Most regular tool you find in any toolbox works on bikes.. I mean I go to the bike shop to hang out because theyre my friends. I need help with stuff like changing the headset because I dont have any tool that can do that at home.. But I see guys come in to install brakes or change flat tires... REALLY? A set of Allen Keys cost what? 10$ tire levers, grab two knives and tape em up a little if you dont want to scratch your rims.. People are just lazy.. What the hell are you gonna do when your bike breaks on the hill? Stop riding. Fixing your bike is part of the sport. If you cant fix your own bike, you cant bike!
  • + 1
 while i wholly agree with you, some people just arent mechanically minded and everybody has to start somewhere
(but yes, many just couldnt care less)
i know that if i worked in a bike shop, the people that just dont care and bring theyre bikes in - would be paying my wage

i do all my own stuff, i dint buy expensive brand name tools but over 8 years have virtually everything i need/have needed
as and when you learn to do one thing on your bike, buy the tool for it Big Grin
  • + 1
 i completely agree boo! widowmaker, thats the kind of comment that completely belittles the human race. if we took your stance we wouldnt have fucking bikes or computers or pinkbike, fuck off back to your cave
  • + 4
 we used to have a labor rate sign right before you got into the wrench bays:
$25.00/HR
$50.00/HR IF YOU WORKED ON IT FIRST
$75.00/HR IF YOU STAND AND WATCH
...you get the picture...we cant be all Monkey Vasquezes!
  • + 1
 as far as boo's comments...the F*n rich don't care to work on their shite. Money works that way, ya know?
  • + 1
 @boo: There is an old saying I think you could learn from "you don't know what you don't know." After being a shop wrench for 3 years I thought I was a master mechanic, wrong. I've been a pro mechanic now for about 8 years and I'm still learning new stuff everyday. Smoke is right, getting the job done 75% right is easy. I could teach someone to do that quality of work in less than a week. Really doing the job right 100% of the time takes many years of full time practice. Plus you should keep in mind that a pro mechanic needs to be able to work on everything. DH, XC, Road, TT, BMX, the 15+ different bb and crank standards, all the different hubs made over the years, and the quirks and intricacies of all the different standards that have come and gone over the last 40 years. That is a lot of what you are paying for when you pay a mechanic.

fullbug makes a good point too. If you make $50+ an hour you are a fool to work on your own stuff because you are just loosing time that could be used making more money.
  • + 3
 Most of you fail to mention the economic impact that local bike shops have on you bicycle community. My LBS is smaller, so the mechanics are also the sales men, which works well because they know everything about the bikes that they sell. I'm not requesting to all you do it yourselfers that you take the bike into the shop, however many of the bike shops don't make money through selling bikes. Most of their income is through repairs, as that pays for everything and more, which keeps your bike shops open and the owners happy. This, as I said before, will help your community get more involved in biking. Coming from a town with a relative;y small biking community, I can appreciate this. Hopefully some of you narrow minded fools can to.
  • + 1
 very well put i would happily help fund my LBS but im always very skint and its because of this that i do it myself otherwise i would
[Reply]
  • + 20
 worked in a shop for 8+ yrs. most memorable customer - wants to buy a saddle for his wife, very busy lots of female customers at that moment at the register. He says loudly he needs a big saddle cuz his wife has a huge ass. I ask him jokingly, "how big?" and in front of all the female customers he covers his face with his hands and says "when she sits on my face it's like this!" no lie. The women's faces standing at the register were shocked. I couldn't keep it together and busted out! some women left & the ones that stayed became loyal regulars afterwards. I miss the vibe but I actually ride more now that i don't work in a shop.
  • + 4
 that is the FUNNIEST thing in the world EVER
  • + 6
 Told a pleasant middle-aged female customer, (a police officer, to boot,) that she "has a very nice rack there". No joke. She laughed so hard, boss turned red and stared at me, shocked. Took me a full 5 sec to realize what I'd said could be taken differently than "this rack I just installed on your bicycle, it's nice!" Guh...
  • + 1
 Awesome bro!
[Reply]
  • + 15
 Being nice to your mechanic take you more than a long way. It will easily save you hundreds of dollars. Just simply stopping by, being social, helping out every once in a while, (they like food too!) will make them like you and fix your bike for free commonly and major discounts along with some free things that are always pesky like tubes. Don't be a snob!
  • + 12
 Awesome Article. I love being bribed! esp with team kids that we wrench for free! a good burrito goes a long way!
  • + 7
 Awesome read. We actually get a fair few female customers in the shop - I find myself meeting more chicks (and ones who ride too - score!) working in the bike shop than I was doing before. Totally true about bribes: A Basic Service? That'll be £26 or a crate of Peroni. tup
  • + 0
 beer. 6pack for a standard tune
  • + 1
 Coffee is always more than welcome, its like 16$ for a coffee traveller at Starbucks and that keeps us going all day.
  • + 8
 Buck Starfucks.
[Reply]
  • + 15
 hahaha, one of pinkbikes best article! thanks, I needed a good read.
[Reply]
  • + 9
 This tone of this article shows the typical attitude you might encounter at a Cove bike shop; poor attitude, the "I know everything about bikes and the customer is an idiot mentality" and I work so hard and get dirty all day. You make your own choices in life... most people have to work hard and get dirty working for a living too. There are plenty of shops in the lower mainland that are super sincere and know their shit; Dunbar and Steed to name a couple. They truly promote the sport in a positive manner. I haven't stepped foot in a Cove bike shop in a decade.
  • + 3
 Same here. I used to go to Cove, but got such shitty service and they are more expensive and do a worse job compared to Steed. Steed takes an interest in me and does quality work and are good guys to talk to aswell.
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  • + 9
 i got too frustrated to even finish this article. Ive had a bike shop forget to tighten my left crank arm all the way after i paid them $90 to completely strip and tune the bike... luckily when it fell off as i was riding i was on a slow section and didnt break my neck.... and so i switched shops... then what happens??? i pay some dude just over $100 to simply put a new brake housing on my rear brake, install a few other little fittings and a new diaphragm... im not sure if when he was bleading the brakes he spilled them on my rotors and pads and tried to clean them off but needles to say he f*cked them both up and the shop was ignorant enough to tell me to ty to ride it out.... could have been a simple sorry we will fix this at no charge please come again... needless to say i will never return to these shops again.. and i won't mention the names on this site i do make sure that i pass around what has happened to everyone i speak to in the biking community in this area...

Anyways im not saying all shops are like this and im sure that bike mechanics get hard times but the fact that when they make mistakes and offer nothing in return after a customer has paid excessive amouts of money... not cool


to those of you who are good mechanics and can own up to mistakes, cheers... just remember someone can get seriously hurt if what your doing isnt proper.... when people pick their bike up from a shop they expect it to be in good working order.. now i just prefer to do everything myself...
  • + 20
 Erm..... You paid some-one over $100 to put a brake hose on for you ?! Loser...
  • + 6
 There are a huge amount of idiots working in bike shops too... beer my ass
  • + 3
 Horsey is your mommy I gather..
  • + 12
 I just about gave up reading at this line: 'Ed was the newly crowned Expert XC Champ of New Brunswick, which is to say, “Who gives a shit.”'

Right. 'Cause if you're not from The Shore you don't know what mountain biking is....

Get off your high horse and appreciate that mountain biking is a passion shared by people who don't even have mountains where they live. Ever heard of a world cup racer named Emily Batty? Where did she grow up and learn to ride? Oh right! Ontario! (otherwise known as Onterrible)
  • + 4
 valtra - i think your sense of humour might be misplaced. Smoke isn't being derogatory
  • - 2
 Leelau- high five- You can spot the 'Noobs' in this chat thread from a mile away - This article is the most honest and full on true thing I have ever read on a website - Smoke is a Legend (ive never met him) and he just dropped the hammer, this is one for the ages, I want to high five him, its all about love baby chill out kids
  • + 6
 If Smoke is not being derogatory to the geographically-underprivileged, what is he being? Maybe I took it the wrong way and he is instead just being derogatory to "lycraclad" XC'ers (especially those "Eurotrash" ones, right?). Really, reading it over a few times, Ed probably just had a big ego...but I still can't get rid of the feeling that Smoke is taking a dig at people not from the Shore, and those who don't ride his style.

I am glad I kept reading because this post was about annoying customers and, being kid (or "Noob" if that's how you judge teenagers) heading off to school next year, it's in my best interest to be a pleasant customer. My experiences in virtually every single bike shop I have gone into have been very friendly. I've gotten deals at numerous shops without bribing the mechanics and usually enjoy talking with them. That makes it hard for me to pick a shop and be a devout customer, they all have something unique to offer.

That said, if you go judging me because of where I come from or what I ride, I'll take my business (and beer/coffee/weed) elsewhere and you can go on believing that you are too good to wrench on my bike because you're the ultra-gnar hardass Shore rider.
  • + 4
 I think my views might be coloured by knowing Smoke. I took this article for what I THINK (emphasis deliberate) it was; a bit of a self-deprecating dig at bike shop culture and generic poking fun. There's all types that come to Vancouver and area because it has the reputation of a riding mecca so of course there might be a variety of people to make fun of and I think Smoke was just taking the piss out of one particular character. I know that Smoke's been around the block long enough to know that you can't judge a book by its cover (or geographical origin). I've ridden with Ontario, Florida and even Malaysian riders that rip. Conversely I've ridden with people who'll show up in bling kit who then proceed to walk everything uphill and downhill. My point? Well really that Smoke probably is one of those people who've bumped into more people than myself or many others.

To cut a too long story short, I'm not trying to defend Johnny's writing style. I'm just trying to explain that maybe he was trying to amuse the reader (and judging from the comments of the offended, maybe trying too hard)
  • + 2
 @leelau - old skool waffle, ragging on customers isn't cool, typical attitude from the jaded old timers
  • + 2
 I think everyone has a limit when it comes to dealing with the stereotypical dumbasses. Try being a physical therapist!! "I don't know WHY my knee hurts".......as they walk in 50# overweight with their knees rubbing....I need to train so I can do my marathon in 2 weeks.....

Bike shops are a breath of fresh air.....like dirty friends drinking beers and making xc euro trash cracks.....
  • + 1
 Speaking from the "I know Smoke" corner.... He rips on everything, get over it. PS - That's me flippin' the bird from the ambulance.
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  • + 7
 I know this issue from both sides, stupidity is a feature of both clients and mechanics, the funniest dialogue I have had my friend Carlos (mechanic)by calling the customer. He said I have two messages one good one bad the bad is the one that your frame is cracked. the client asks what is the good, good is such that your mechanic had great sex last night
  • + 7
 'is that what cracked my frame?'
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  • + 6
 good write up bro. its funny because ive managed bike stores in the past and what you wrote about, seemed like you were writing about us, haha. i hated that out of 20 customers, there would probably be on 3 or 4 that you enjoyed dealing with. so many muppets out there, but beer definitly talks.
  • + 6
 Yeah - 3 or 4 customers out of 20 is about right!
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  • + 8
 amazing and well funny, glad i spent 10 mins on this - i love the sense of humour.
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  • + 3
 Wow! What a shit storm, but I'll put my 2 cents in anyway...anyone who thinks of or treats there customers like crap should remember that the noobs and euro-trash etc. are the ones paying their wage...without them you wouldn't have a job so suck it up or work somewhere else...the guys at the shop I sometimes frequent are very nice and cool and hook us up with deals but as far as food, Starbucks, weed or beer? You've got to be kidding right? I work very hard for my money and support a family of 3 on what I make. This sport is expensive enough without bribing bike shop employees. I work in electronics recycling, does that mean all of you who have disposed of a t.v. or computer parts should bring me beer? If I ever get bad service from a shop or other business I'm gone. Period. I went in to one of our local bike shops that caters more to roadies(you locals know which one) to buy brake pads and the kid working there seemed like he couldn't be bothered to help me and treated me like and idiot and I haven't been back since. It seems like we're supposed to treat bike shop employees like gods or something...I like the guys at the shop but I'll be honest, I'll be buying most of my stuff online. Why? It's more affordable, there's much more selection and it actually gets to me quicker(aside from what IS in stock) and I don't care...it's my money and my ride.
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  • + 3
 Great article, brought back so many memories of my time in the bike trade, some good, some bad. Good, the look on a punters face when their shiny new ride is ready, better, when they bring you beer and cookies to say thanks. Bad being out on a club run and getting screamed at cos somebodies gears pack up half way round, I hadn't even worked on the guys bike, lol. Worse, 'hey man you work in a bike shop, can you look at / fix my whatever' when all you want to do is ride on your maybe one day off a week, but being a kind hearted soul you have a look, and end up spending more time fixing some random's bike than you do riding. It's a great life, but remember most of these guys get paid peanuts, so look after your local bike shop staff, bring them Beer & Food and they'll keep you rolling. keep up the good work :-)
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  • + 7
 $12 for is six pack is silly! You poor Canadians pay too much for beer...
  • + 1
 our beer is stronger
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  • + 3
 Lots of stories on here about the 1 time some new guy messed up someone's bike, or 1 guy didn't provide them with the service you expected. It's almost like there's suck workers in every business... for those of you who don't work in a shop, can you honestly say no one in your business/company isn't as good at their job as you? It happens. It's likely that you've taken for granted the times when a mechanic has hooked you up, or you may not even realize it.

As another note, mechanics don't get paid well at all. Tipping 5 bucks for lunch or whatever goes a really long way to a wrench. You tip a waiter to carry your food to you, or a bar tender for pouring liquid into a cup. Tip the guys who make sure you stay safe while you're having fun.

Most importantly, enjoy riding while you're out there.
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  • + 3
 Great article but....

What about those bike mechanics that take liberty on replacing shit that doesn't need replacing, without phone calls and without discount. The guys who see $ walking through the door instead of a customer. They are out there! What motivates a mechanic to do this?
  • + 3
 thats halfords - because they dont make enough money selling cheap crap
  • + 1
 hey now ! at the end of the day halfords offers a stupidly low price for servicing compared to ANY other bike shop you can find but yeah your comment is true , thats coming from a current employee of halfords xD
  • + 1
 im not saying the emplyess are halfords are bad, i know how companies can be, mine is far from the greatest.
they make you sell stuff
whether necessary or not Frown
  • + 1
 yeah they make us do that too >> , where do you work at ?
  • + 1
 delta force
  • + 1
 i used to work at halfords. we got brought in bikes with the bloke saying the gears don't work, and then we find the front brake's hanging off. what would you do??
  • + 2
 haha ! that still happens here xD , people need to stop expecting £100 bike to last for ever and have strong brakes and smooth gears, im the mechanic/build dude , but most of the time i just like having a cyclist to cyclist conversation with customers where we just talk bike talk for about 30 min xD and get paid for it . whats your role in delta force ?
  • + 2
 oh just realized your not the same dude i was talking to before xD ignore that last delta force bit , where do you work then ?
  • + 1
 I work in halfords to, i have to admit they do a nice range of bikes called boardmens and for a good price.
  • + 1
 oh the 2011 ones looks amazing , id get one if i didnt already have one ! , which store you in ?
  • + 1
 Usually the reason for this is one of three things: One, their boss/owner is a greedy a-hole and is making them do it by threatening them with their job if they don't increase revenues. Two, the mechanic is paid piecework or gets a cut of the labor or commission on the parts they sell. Three, the mechanic believes they are doing you a favor by being proactive and replacing something that they felt needed to be replaced. Should they have called first? Very probably.

Hope this explains things. If you are wondering which of the three situations it is, just ask and they will likely tell you. If they don't or get cagey, the shop can't be trusted and you should take your business elsewhere.
  • + 1
 ^ Reasons 1 and 2 are unacceptable, no decent mechanic should tolerate such a working environment. Reason 3 only makes sense if there is visible damage that you didn't notice. (I ride my brake pads until they are toast and keep spares in my pack, if I didn't ask you to look at my brakes, don't look at them, let alone "repair" them). Lastly, I made the mistake once and will never send my GF to a mechanic alone again. This after the mech. sent her home with new tires while the "old" ones only had 75% wear (still use these tires on her town bike). I know these examples don't represent the whole...but it happens more often then not, especially when the LBS has a monopoly.
  • + 2
 hurtinunit: I never said any of these were good reasons, but they are the real reasons nonetheless. Personally, I refuse to jack up a repair price to make an owner happy although I have been threatened many times over the course of my career for not doing this. Even so I have never been fired because they know that a good wrench is hard to find. As the comments here will testify, most shops suck, so not tolerating a certain work environment is not always a realistic option in this industry. I think it is getting better though with the increased competition coming from mail order. All a LBS can offer to compete is good service.
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  • + 2
 Love it. Im manager/mechanic at my shop and i wouldnt change it for anything. Dealing with people who no little to nothing about the sport is an everyday affair but i dont care because i love what i do. Some days are better than others but in the end it all washes out and thats all that matters. All i gotta say is support your local shop over internet whenever you can. We really appreciate it! ps stop into to global bikes if u ever r in az!
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  • + 2
 "Eurotrash"? Who the hell this guy think he is? What a crappy-low-life writer... Besides, if you don't like to deal with costumers, get yourself another job, you a**hole! No wonder bike mechanics are on the lower/lowest side of the bike industry. This writer give workers a bad name..
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  • + 2
 Have some common sense people..
To customers: Don't take your bike in dirty! Realize that your mechanic knows what needs to be fixed and how to fix it. But remember that they are not magical and sometimes it takes extra time or new parts..
To mechanics and shop people: People come to you because they don't know but you're there as a business so sometime you have to put up with the shit. Does your banker treat you like shit because you aren't enlightened with finance knowledge? Everyone just be humble 'cause none of us knows everything and no one likes to be treated like shit. I wrench my own stuff when I can and when I can't I take it somewhere I trust. There are shops that I avoid now because of bad experiences. When you find a shop you like stick with it, it will pay off.
And theres nothing wrong with a friendly beer bribe now and then!
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  • + 2
 AWESOME read!! Smile
takes me back to my bike mech days. I only lasted 9months due to the minnimum wage BUT, it was awesome in a kevin smith CLERKS type way!
know it all Dad was the WORST customer" £290 for that little frame! i could make one at work for a tenners worth of metal" YEA CORSE YOU COULD POPS Smile
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  • + 2
 ah, the old order; hating on noobs, foreigners, xc'ers and shop customers for over 20 years

bike shops/techs who rag on customers need to have a rethink, show some respect, hiring "rats" (a charming turn of phrase there) needs a total rethink

charge appropriately for the right service, don't expect beer and herb for free, do your job properly and get paid accordingly; stop treating it like a hobby and take some pride in your business

personally I'd rather ride with a bunch of "noobs" who are chilled and stoked on the sport than some superradgnardudebro who think's they're above other people

no wonder the sport struggles to attract/retain new riders, female riders etc, with an ingrained attitude like this

just sayin'
  • + 8
 You make some good points gnarbar, but the reason for the attitude is because mechanics are usually treated like crap and underpaid by the shop, or they are tired of the abuse customers dish out. I can't describe how demeaning it is when a customer acts like they own you because they are spending money in your shop. Or, they endlessly complain as a way of scamming the shop into giving them lower prices or free labor. Lastly, it really sucks when customers tell you how to do your job after you just listened with a smile as they bragged about what a great rider they are. I don't expect customers to know everything, nor do I expect them to bow down and beg me to work on their bike. All I hope for is some common courtesy and respect. No self respecting mechanic expects bribes or tips, but you would not believe, or ever know for that matter, how much free labor these will get you. Smoke wasn't spelling out an expectation, he's helping you learn how to get a better deal on labor.
  • + 3
 amen dude. nailed it.
  • - 1
 cheap labour, discounts, freebies....really ? it's a job, it's a business.

name one other industry where there's an automatic expectation from the customer that they'll get a deal.

needs a shake up and some evolution.
  • + 1
 You've never heard of an auto shop giving people breaks on pricing? no one you know has "a guy" that does the job better and cheaper than anyone else? Have you ever been to a bar and got a free drink? how about a restaurant? Ever been to a mom and pop store of any kind? If the answer to all of these is no for you, you might consider a tip or maybe just plain old courtesy.
  • + 0
 your motto should be "poor service, going cheap"

no issue with tipping generously for great service or courtesy here
  • + 4
 A bit below the belt with the motto there gnarbar? I actually agree with both sides of this. The bike industry in general needs a bit of a shake up. Because of the big online stores people automatically expect discount for no reason at all in their LBS. I've worked for the same group of bike shops in the UK for over 10 years now and have witnessed a decline. The underlying truth is we have to make some exceptions in order to compete. I treat everyone who walks through my door with respect and dignity, unless they treat me like shit, or demand unreasonable discounts for no good reason. I'm in the bike business to make friends, and have done quite sucessfully. Funny though, when people start to get familiar in your shop how much you notice who your friends are, and who your "mates" are.
In our place we don't expect tips, and generally refuse them unless the customer is genuinely that happy with what you've done for them. We are not for sale, we cannot be bought, bribed, or flattered into anything and our queues cannot be jumped. We make exceptions where we can for our oldest and most valued customers, if they've been there since day one I think that goes without saying.

But to Joe Public who wants automatic discount on innertubes because Wankmycrank.com sells them for £1.20... May I direct you back out the door from whence you came...
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  • + 3
 just want to add..triathlon bikes are by far THE WORST bikes to wrench on!! nothin but stank-ass clapped-out rides and riders!
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  • + 1
 spot on article about working at bike shops! after 10 yrs in shops I am done and moving on to other things and this article is a good summary of why. one thing missing for this article is how most bike shop owners are insane! guess you have to be a little crazy to make your livelihood from bikes... and Smoke you write some of the best articles I have read on pinkbike and else where. looking forward to the next one...
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  • + 1
 just hope they don't need any warranty help with those parts you bought. it's amazing how poor the internet can be with customer service. What you may not realize is when you buy from an IBD you get the shop, and therefore, the company rep on your side. It's more about investing in your parts than saving 10 bucks on them. I understand when money is tight, but five dollar tip will save you a lot more than ebay will in the long run, and buying from someone you know and can talk to will prove worth it.
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  • + 1
 Couldnt agree more with the boys in the first posts.

5 years part time at halfords, some awesome laughs and some silly stress, plenty of caffeine and madness at christmas, wouldnt have missed it for the world. Working in a bike shop can be a b*tch but the good times more than outwiegh the bad even in a crap bike shop. This article is bang on.

To those who complain about a mechanic cocking up, yeah it sometimes happens we have off days, even happens working on your own rig, happens in all walks of life. Yeah the shop should sort it for you i agree but tbh im getting fed up with this "you messed up, i want compensation" culture because thats what happens most of the time. That being said it is hard to support your local store when money is super tight but it has to be done as much as possible. i put as much money as i can afford (if difference in price isnt silly that is) their way.

Still i also agree that working on your own bike makes you feel much more involved in it, when you get it set up real good your ride is just that lil bit better knowing you made it that way. Fair does if your not mechanically minded but to those people id just say spend some time with your bike tech and just ask questions, you may not want to fettle yourself but you'll get a much better understanding of whats going on and why things are done the way they are.

At the end of the day just enjoy riding and everything that it involves. Leave all the bullsh*t for work days
  • + 1
 Right on brother ! (this coming from a current part time bike mechanic at halfords) p.s christmas at halfords sucks -.- (i hate apollo sweeties)
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  • + 1
 The original Cove shop was epic, loaded with all the goodies, filled with the best riders, tons of attitude and the thickest raditude I've ever encountered. Back in '96 it was just chaz and the crew, half lit doin what they love and keeping it genuine, I spent money there that I still dont have and I did it hoping to apart of something special. I always laugh whenever I see updates on Gabe Fox (Evil mngr), back in the day he was just the shop bitch and it wasnt uncommon to sit around to see what stupid shit they'd make him do next, very entertaining. Thanks for article Smoke.
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  • + 1
 i am in my thrid year of DH mtb'ing and when i needed work done on a bike i knew nothing about i went to all of the shops in town and felt them out, some were more accomadating then others.i would just like to mention as well i have 2 boys in the sport as well so getting the odd deal is important to me "a noob". once i found the shop i liked i go there only and the good deals came without bribes of any kind but just because of loyalty as far as i know.since then yes there has been many days with beers,soda and timmies for the boys and i do it because i want to show them i appreciate what they do for me.the owner and mechs in my shop are great and they help me and show me stuff just to try and get me back out riding as soon as possible.So thanks to Trevor and the guys at Full Boar bike store in Kamloops!
  • + 1
 A man who gets it. Good on ya, and say hi to the Big Pig for me next time you're in the Boar.
  • + 1
 will do johnny keep up the good work!!
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  • + 1
 Bike shop employee was a great college gig. Who can be 19 years old and be able to afford a XT level bike? Two people, a bike shop employee or someone with Parents who will buy them anything, more commonly known as a customer. There is also the very small minority of 19 year olds that make serious coin, but we will leave them out for now.
And yes if you still live at home and you have a nice bike at 19, I don't care if you paid for it with your own money, because yo only had that money because you don't have bills to pay.
  • + 1
 i saw a kid on a ride recently (maybe 13 or so), his bike was as good as if not better than mine, and he had a race number board thing on the front too
it gets me so angry, rich kid rich parents!
  • + 1
 "And yes if you still live at home and you have a nice bike at 19, I don't care if you paid for it with your own money, because yo only had that money because you don't have bills to pay."

I don't have bills to pay, but my parents do, and my cheap labour makes it much easier for my dad to pay the high input costs of dairy farming. Anyone who works hard, or whose parents work hard and want to buy the best for their kids, can spend their hard earned coin on whatever they want

Where did this rule come from that all cyclists under the age of 20 must ride cheap entry-level bikes? You reach a certain price range and there is a significant performance gain. Don't you remember the boost in confidence you got the first time you rode a sub$1000+ bike?
  • + 1
 "And yes if you still live at home and you have a nice bike at 19, I don't care if you paid for it with your own money, because yo only had that money because you don't have bills to pay."
Stop putting out ultimatums that are ultimately wrong.
It all depends on peoples priorities. Some people will only own $300 pairs of jeans. You can get a full XT bike pretty easily for 2500 on the pinkbike buysell. If your and avg 19 yr old (key word is average) and cant afford 2500 on something you enjoy doing alot (ie biking) then your doing something wrong.
  • + 4
 I'm 15, and I have to say that my parents make me make my own money for anything. If you are serious about riding, Even over the years I've just slowly upgraded parts and bikes... You have to be patient.
  • + 1
 yep thats how it is Smile
but it feels so much better this way
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  • + 1
 Man you sure do complain a lot.. actually working in a bike shop is a pretty chill job considering what other jobs are out there. But the bribes for beer and weed and the deal on regular costumers is true, everyone who is thinking mechanics have it so rough now, don't haha.
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  • + 1
 OMG this hits the nail on the head for shop employees! Been workin at a couple shops for 5 years now and this article rocks and i am printing the mofo. It seems like lately too that all we are getting is scenarios like the ones described. Sweet Edit!!!
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  • + 1
 It's exactly the same over here in Poland. Maybe with the exception that this is a nation made to complain even more. But the shop rats, the wrenches... all the same, seen from both the client and shop floor perspective xD Hey, but what about this bonus Bonus sauce? Is it any good for wasting eurotrash in lycra or what? Wink
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  • + 1
 hahaha classic, some good comedy........................ i personally strip and service my own ride, but i have a local LBS i buy all my major bits from and if I'm battling with something they help me freely all the time................it is a good idea to get friendly with an LBS you like..............didn't have to use weed or beer though, just good ol' cash in hand trading for bits and parts.............being nice helps Smile
  • + 2
 i like to keep the weed for myself Razz , or else smoke it with me
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  • + 1
 Hi, I own and work in a bike shop, I have done other jobs as well before that, in manufacturing. For me its a choice and I absolutly love it. The last 8 years are a blessing in my life. I normally find if we treat customers nice they treat us nice, and in NZ the customer to bikeshop ratio is much lower than enywhere else i have been, so we do apreceate our customers and don't need bribes. We actually offer free coffee and even beers sometimes, customers bring the cake from time to time. To all Bikeshop guys out there, treat the customer right and he will be a loyal longtimer. Customer treat the bikeshop gromm or wrench ok as well and we all have a good time,(I sound like a hippy).
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  • + 1
 THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! you did the world a great deed by posting this. This should be on the door of every bike shop and a must read before entering! especially the clean your bike part. Remember kids...if your bike comes in dirty you can expect to pay a lil extra.
  • + 2
 Very funny - and it's all true. Yes, a dirty bike makes my surly attitude just that little bit worse!
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  • + 1
 you think thats a bad customer!
think of a customer that doesnt understand how a puncture isnt covered under warranty.
"yeah, its considered a wear/tear part, so its not covered."
"but why not?"

ffs.
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  • + 0
 for anyone who is a mechanic in a bike shop or even a sales guy will totally appreciate this post because its all true about giving us beer and bringing in a clean bike (especially if there is shit on the tire!!!!!!!!!) just little things that show u appreciate the work thats been done. awsum edit!
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  • + 1
 Re: Oh, and always…ALWAYS clean your bike before you bring it in.

My head mechanic/shop manager used to say: 'Do you eat a box of Oreos before going to the dentist?'

Loved the article, keep up the good work Smoke!
  • + 1
 I ask people if I can walk in their houses with muddy shoes on... 9 out of 10 people get the hint
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  • + 2
 Ive worked in 3 bike shops in 5 years and everything in that article is so true! Made for a very entertaining read!
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  • + 1
 That was funny, I have worked in a few shops over the years and been a customer for many more years so I see it from both sides and reading this was a good laugh.
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  • + 2
 Excuse me sir.... i purchased this bike from you yesterday and it has a flat tyre..i would like a re-fund please.....
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  • + 1
 SMOKE- looking forward to your next article. I enjoy reading your ish. That's also one hell of a way to open a story. I was hooked at line one. Now, give us more lines.
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  • + 1
 great article, absolutely love the recipie. men can cook too. absolutely loved the "Oh and love. Just don’t add too much or it will get salty" keep this up man
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  • + 1
 ahh to know Nummers is to - love him? Not sure I'd ever eat anything he concocted though. Thanks for the introspect, the fantastic writing!
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  • + 1
 Great article Smoke! We should all take a page out of Wade's book and learn to find appropriate ways to channel our white hot ball of anger/hate/rage.
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  • - 2
 I'm sad that you had to bring up the old stereotype that every mechanic is basically an alcoholic and will therefore accept beer as a bribe for good and quick service. This is so not the case with everyone, and I believe it only helps to undermine the professionalism of the mechanic by implying that cheap beer is enough to sway their seemingly simple minds towards your favor. Personally I prefer home-baked goods. Brownies, cookies, etc. always make a better impression on me and tell me that the customer really wants their ride back in time for their race or appreciates the work I've done and the hours I've put into their bike. It's easy to walk to the corner store and pick up a six pack of beer, but it takes actual effort and thought to go home and make something for your mechanic that you think he or she will actually appreciate. Maybe it's different on the Shore, but down here not every mechanic is a drunk.
  • - 6
 lol! yea like a big tough guy is gonna come in and say to you " hey here i baked you some cookies". hahaha, well unless hes f ag
  • + 8
 So straight people can't enjoy cookies? You have a very skewed view of the world.
  • + 2
 how about a starbucks gift card? will that make u happy? i dont think allot of these guys are ready to put on an apron and bake u some cookies, hahaha and yes straight guys can enjoy cookies.
  • + 0
 Most customers have wives or girlfriends — or even female friends — who can bake. Use your brain.
  • + 1
 wow dude, have a sense of humor, guess u didnt get your cookie today hu
  • + 1
 I have a sense of humor; your comments just aren't funny.
  • + 1
 for the record necronutz I meant to neg prop you but accidentally positive propped you. and you sound like a homophobe.
  • + 3
 Having spent years in shops and being a none drinker for the most part too, I did felt a little left out by the beer, but as Seraph states, I remembered the other things like gift card, baked goods (might have ate too many of these over the years) or customers that had other services like vehicle mechanics that they can offer - bartering is not dead in the cycling industry. Try going to the grocery store and asking for a discount because you shop there often.
  • - 3
 lennyandcarl whats wrong with that? im not about to go into a discusion with u about your sexual preference but theres nothing wrong with using that word, if you choose to get offended by that word than thats your problem, look up that word in the dictionary.
  • + 6
 DUDE after a hard days yakka nothing beats a nice cool beer, doesnt mean you have a alcohol problem cos you enjoy a couple of beers. If you go home with a full tummy of cookies then no fine time with the misses cos you didnt eat your dinner LOL.
  • - 1
 If you have to have a "nice cool beer" every day after work in order to unwind, you may have an alcohol problem. Personally I prefer an Odwalla or some apple juice.
  • + 6
 seraph, just no! alcohol isn't just for getting drunk and binge drinking. its recreational, its relaxing, and having a beer while you unwind is not the same as having an alcohol problem! i'd start getting worried when you're drinking tequila with your cornflakes in the morning (although thats standard festival practice ;D)
  • - 4
 That's pretty naive of you. Regular alcohol consumption is all it takes to have the possibility of an alcohol dependency problem. It doesn't matter what kind of alcohol it is, whether it's light beer or straight vodka.
  • + 2
 well necronutz if you feel the need to defend your use of the word, then you need to get with the times. If you like using that word, fine. I'm just saying you sound like a homophobe.
  • - 3
 again what the hell is wrong with that? i dont like homosexuals its nasty, yea im afraid to get next to one and if one got close to me ill pop him one betwen the eyes, thats just me, not everyone has to like your kind, get over it im a homophobe so you dont have to repeat your self.
  • + 3
 A homophobe and an idiot!
  • - 2
 If a homosexual is allowed to love homosexuality, I'm allowed to hate it. Isn't that what they are all pulling for anyways? Equal rights? Why are people who hate homosexuality always put down and frowned upon. It's just an opinion, the same as being gay.

And just as a pre-emptive rebuttal to all you shitheads who are going to say "YOU COULD SAY THE SAME THING ABOUT BEING RACIST YOU BIGOTED FASCIST a*shole", you don't choose what race you're going to be, dumbass. I don't give two f*cks if you're hispanic, black, oriental, whatever, I'll treat you the same I treat everybody. But if you're gay, I'm going to call you a f*ggot.
  • + 0
 Just as people don't choose what race they are, they also don't choose their sexuality. It's hard wired. Being gay is not an opinion. Sounds like you're just afraid of people who choose to have relations with members of the same sex. It's ok if you are. Don't worry, the when The Rapture comes you'll be safely transported to Heaven and all the homosexual sinners will be doomed to wander the Earth for all of eternity.
  • + 0
 from homosexuality to religion, i am not going there.
  • - 1
 I think it's a little late for that, sir.
  • + 1
 This thread is pretty amusing, and oddly reminiscent of conversations we have at our little bike shop. Let me add that although not all bike mechanics are alcoholics, we are invariably a little eccentric and all have our quirks be they home baked cookies or regular alcohol. I like a beer as much as I like a cookie, but everything in it's place. I don't believe myself to have an addiction or unhealthy obsession with either - though from time to time have been known to take both to excess.

The point I'm making is that bike mechanics are weird people, usually in a good, harmless way, even the biggoted miserable ones. Get over it, and feel free to continue the homosexuality/religion debate.
  • + 1
 little late? fine! u wana keep talking about gays ok but dont bring religion into it, anyways im not the one who started this debate, i use a simple word that in reality doesnt even mean what people use it for and you people get all offended by it! this is not the only time you are gonna hear someone use the words f*ggot, gay and queer so deal with it!

and yes marvelousedd i too think this post is amusing, ive been laughing since it started.
  • + 0
 Seraph - you are joking right? Nutcase shitforbrains necronutz goes to Heaven at The Rapture while those filthy homos get the shove (so to speak). What about gays who are Christians - don't they get a look in? If you aren't joking I predict your answer is gonna be - a gay can't be a Christian.
  • + 0
 It's called "sarcasm"; look it up.
  • + 1
 I know what sarcasm is - glad to see you were joking.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 great article! I enjoy giving beer to those who enjoy drinking beer. makes the world go round
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I love my local LBS.... Nothing better than to go down and spend Saturdays helping out. Grassroots all the way!
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Good write up! Beer, bud, food, all good bribes Smile
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Ha ha, I've worked in too many shops. The burnt out ones always have a sense of special entitlement.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 HAHAHA! Great piece, Smoke. And good advice to the newbs regarding shop etiquette
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Very true, and yes, do clean your bike first! Would you like to work on a bike that's covered in shit?
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Fantastic article. Although I do wonder how many times I've been talked about in the blow of session....
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Ha, this made me laugh. It's all so true. Every bike shop i've worked in has been the same, i think they all are.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 My local bike shop is very open about accepting beer as bribes.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 So true! I managed a shop in New Zealand for 3 years. I swear i aged 10 years an lost half my hair....
[Reply]
  • + 1
 oh my god!!! does that turner actually have IRC KUGO tyres on it??
I didnt think they made them anymore......
  • + 1
 Photo was taken in '03, frame is still rockin' but most of the parts have changed. Was a good trip with Smoke, he showed us some pretty sweet trails and was a great guy to ride with.
  • + 1
 ahhh....that explains things....
[Reply]
  • + 2
 No! don't use basil...Oregano is the best!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Thanks Smoke for a great story - you made my day!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 keep on deleting comments that don't suit your agenda, little man
[Reply]
  • + 1
 please write a book!!! Great story
[Reply]
  • + 1
 go to that 3rd pic...................how did that happen!?!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 That was just fenomenal! Great style of writing!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Someone has learned how to use photoshop!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Horsey IS his Mommy...
ok then :L Smile
[Reply]
  • + 0
 Thanks for sharing this article, I thought it was very funny. Brightly colored Lycra clad eurotrash! Haha!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 lol His zipper is down in the very first pic!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 wow lyrics from 'The End'... heavy!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Shorty, your zipper is undone. Wink
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Good read smoke!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Haha. LOVE this article!
[Reply]
  • - 1
 comment deleted - can't handle the truth eh ? poor lamb
[Reply]
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